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William Barr and Contempt of Congress - Student Discussion

From comes this article: The House Judiciary vote on contempt of Congress and what it means for William Barr, explained


House Democrats are upping the ante in their attempt to get special counsel Robert Mueller’s full, unredacted report by threatening to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress.

Contempt is another way for Congress to get subpoenaed documents, by asking the US attorney for the District of Columbia or the Department of Justice to charge Barr with criminal contempt for not complying with a congressional subpoena.

The contempt resolution would also have to be approved by the full House — which has an increased shot at passing now that an increasing number of Democrats are focusing their ire on Barr.

Frustrated by weeks of missed subpoena deadlines and pushback from the Trump administration, the House Judiciary Committee passed a contempt resolution along party lines on Wednesday, at the end of a lengthy and contentious hearing.

As serious as contempt sounds, it realistically won’t amount to more than Congress sending a powerful message — unless Democrats pass a different resolution to authorize suing Barr and the Trump administration to try to get the Mueller report.


Questions for Discussion


  1. Under what conditions would you find it acceptable for Congress to use its "inherent contempt power" as described in the article?
  2. From everything you've read, what do you think is the most likely outcome from this conflict between the White House and Congress?
    1. Will Congress get the material it wants?
    2. Will it go to court?
    3. Will the President prevail?
    4. What have you read and seen that leads you to this expectation?